Fact Checking – That’s Proprietary

During the course of evaluating vendor claims about the benefits that their products provide I’ve received several replies that the information that would substantiate a claim is “proprietary”, or “intellectual property”

Integrated Engineering

“Breakthrough flow technologies.”

Integrated Engineering Mk7 Intercooler Product Description

Question to Integrated Engineering:

What is the “breakthrough” flow technology? This says that there has been a sudden advance related to the technology involved with airflow.

“Unfortunately without sharing proprietary technical drawings I don’t believe I’ll be able to substantiate this claim for you,…”

Integrated Engineering


“This also does away with the failure-prone journal bearing design on the factory turbochargers.”

Audi Performance & Racing DTR6054 Turbocharger Description

Question to APR:

Since “prone” means to be likely or liable to experience a failure, how has APR evaluated the reliability of the IHI Corporation turbochargers, and what are the reliability measure results that support the claim that the IHI product is “failure-prone”?

“Sadly that is proprietary information that we cannot release.”

Audi Performance & Racing (APR)

034 Motorsports

“Many aftermarket kits fit too large of a filter in an enclosure that cannot accommodate its size, thus choking the filter and reducing its overall flow.”

034 Motorsports Mk7 Intake Product Description

Question to 034 Motorsport:

If you can show that the 034 Motorsport products, and alternatives, perform as stated please provide evidence of such performance.

“we do not share internal engineering IP on demands like this to anyone, regardless of whatever reason they have.”

034 Motorsports

To understand what these vendors are claiming as a reason to not substantiate their claims we can start with what “proprietary” means:


1. one that possesses, owns, or holds exclusive right to something

2. something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker


The concept of “intellectual property” means:

1. property (such as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect

2. also an application, right, or registration relating to this


The information, drawings, designs, etc. are for use by the respective companies only.

Other companies cannot use the information, designs, or drawings and there are legal protections to ensure this occurs.

Paradoxically, despite having legal protection for sole use by the vendor because it is proprietary, the information that supposedly substantiates the vendor’s claims is withheld.


Vendors of aftermarket automotive performance products often make unsubstantiated claims about their products. These unsubstantiated claims violate advertising laws.

Vendors who state the information that would substantiate their claims is “proprietary” or “intellectual property” and claim it cannot be shared with consumers are failing to correctly apply the terms proprietary and intellectual property.

It is likely that the vendors who use the word “proprietary” or “intellectual property” as justification for withholding information are signaling that they have no evidence to support their claims.

4 thoughts on “Fact Checking – That’s Proprietary”

  1. Good on you for calling them out Jeff. I’m in a totally different industry, but the amount of outright BS that is promoted and then swallowed whole by the masses is staggering. You can’t save fools from themselves (and perhaps shouldn’t) but critical thinking skills seem to be on a rapid decline lately.

    1. Thanks for the observation Craig, some stuff that I come across is astounding.

  2. Great post. I recently had an OTS tune. Beforehand, they offered me a custom package for twice the price. I nearly went for it but I’d rather save my money than spend it on something that is not substantiated enough to justify the price. I must say that it was rather disappointing because they (maybe unconsciously) framed it like the OTS was a vastly inferior product (it wasn’t in my opinion). If you’re weak, that’s how they get you.

    Looking through your posts, I’ve found that more often than not, it is not justifiable.

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